A season of lonely holidays?


Ryan Lam

Although senior Sophia Baraban would ordinarily be with family in Indiana during the holiday season, her family is staying at home this year in fear of inadvertently spreading Covid-19.

Lights dimming out, stockings hanging empty, and houses eerily silent. This is the reality many households are experiencing during these times.
While the vaccine by Pfizer and BioNTech has recently been approved by the FDA, it will take months for distribution to the entire public.
With no definite plan in sight, many ready themselves for another isolated or limited celebration. Rising COVID cases certainly deter households from hosting or attending their usual gatherings.
Those who plan on celebrating must take into account Governor Ralph Northam’s restriction to gatherings of 10 people or less, announced on Dec. 10.
Some would much rather be safe than sorry by solely celebrating with their immediate families.
“We will be staying home this year to help make sure everyone stays healthy,” senior Sophia Baraban said. “I know the holidays would be more fun with my extended family, but the chances of one of them, or us, becoming sick are very high.”
If it was a normal year, Baraban would have traveled to Indiana to spend time with the rest of her family.
History and Theory of Knowledge teacher Timothy Kelly has made adjustments to his holiday plans, deciding to forgo his traditional post-Christmas gathering with extended family.
“I’ll celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah with my immediate family. My mom lives close by, so she’ll make a short visit; but, like at Thanksgiving, we’ll wear our masks and keep our distances,” Kelly said. “For us, it’s just too many people coming from too many places to risk gathering in close quarters for a few days.”
Nevertheless, Kelly hopes to continue his family traditions through Zoom.
In contrast, some students have decided to maintain their annual traditions with their extended families while still being aware of safety protocols.
“Despite the rise in COVID cases, I still plan to celebrate Christmas with my extended family,” senior Alejandro Erazo said. “We are ensuring a safe get-together by being active participants of social distancing in the weeks prior to the celebration.”
Erazo, like many others, wants to reconnect with his family members, whom he has not seen for several months.
“I believe that Christmas is a time to spend with the people you love,” Erazo said.
Having already returned home and quarantining, Cynthia Nguyen, a former student that now attends the University of Virginia, feels the same.
“We plan on wearing masks and keeping our distance at our celebration as much as possible,” Nguyen said.
With the holidays approaching, many families must decide what’s best, especially considering the state of the pandemic. What matters most is that they make a safe and harmless decision.